By watching any match involving his choice football club, Arsenal FC, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel decompresses. He shared some of such moments with Anayo Okolie

Arsenal Football Club, presently, is among the best clubs in the world because of their tip-tap pattern of play. Though they haven’t achieved much like Barcelona, Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool, Manchester United and other respected clubs that have been decorated with several European trophies.

Whilst Arsenal is yet to secure a Champions League trophy, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, is still comfortable supporting his club. One of the many myths of Arsenal’s history is that the club has never been relegated. Unfortunately, it is not so. Arsenal was once relegated (1913) when they finished bottom of the league. Then, they were called Woolwich Arsenal.

They were promoted back to the old First division after the First World War in quite a controversy and have been there ever since. But the club’s performance has been spectacular ever since.

However, 16 years ago (1996/1997 season), was the last time that Arsenal failed to qualify for Champions League and in fact, the season was Arsene Wenger’s first in England, having arrived in north London from the Japanese League in September to replace Bruce Rioch.

But after getting over the heartache of narrowly missing out on Champions League football, Arsenal bounced back the following season in earnest, overhauling Manchester United’s 12-point lead to win the Premier League.

Emmanuel does not joke with his matches. One would imagine how he creates time to watch his matches despite his busy schedule as the number one citizen of Akwa Ibom. Even if Arsenal’s performance is poor, you dare not criticise the club before him. However, there are few things that Emmanuel can sacrifice Arsenal matches for, and they are: God, family and the progress of Akwa Ibom State.

What Emmanuel loves most, according to him, is praising the lord. “I can never separate governance from God.” He is a devoted Christian. His closeness to God till date is not a surprise to many especially the people of Akwa Ibom, who know him from childhood.
Emmanuel rose from being a Sunday school leader at United Evangelical Church (QIC) formerly Qua Iboe Church to become a bank director. Emmanuel and his family are still strong members of United Evangelical Church (QIC), Nigeria.

Emmanuel is from a reputable and God-fearing family cherished by everyone in his community. His father Mr. G. E. Nkanang was an educator, a Head Master and a great teacher. Both Father and Mother (late) were community leaders, who committed themselves to educating, training and developing children and youths in their communities to become better future leaders.

Emmanuel and his family are strong members of Qua Iboe Church, Nigeria. As a devout Christians and Deacon, they are altogether very active in the faith. This commitment, many believe helped Udom and his family to stay strong and united, while weathering through the storms of life.

He loves praising the lord with passion and has contributed immensely to the growth of the lord’s vineyard. Yet, Emmanuel, who hungers for the gospel or the words of God, says he could not do without Christian songs. He enjoys it and listens to it all the time.

Since he was elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State on April 11, 2015, his priorities are serving God and putting smiles on the faces of Akwa Ibom people by building a new Akwa Ibom State through his five point agenda.

Immediately he took over from his predecessor, Mr. Godswill Akpabio as the governor, Emmanuel promised wealth creation, economic and political inclusion, poverty alleviation, infrastructural consolidation and expansion and job creation. He is seen as a technocrat. His experience and achievements speak for him.
Emmanuel served as an audit manager of Price Waterhouse Coopers. He is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria. He joined Zenith in 1996 from Diamond Bank Limited and was the pioneer manager of its Lagos Central Branch. He was in charge of the Telecommunications Sector, Income Optimisation and Financial & Strategic Planning Group of Zenith Bank Plc. He has over 17 years financial services experience.

He served as an Executive Director of Zenith Bank Plc, and also served as Chief Financial Officer of Zenith Bank Plc. Before he ventured into politics, he also served as Group Head of Income Optimisation, Financial Control & Strategic Planning Department at Zenith Bank. He served as General Manager of Zenith Bank Plc.

He is a Chartered Accountant and he trained with Price Water House Coopers. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management. He has attended the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD, France and holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the prominent University of Lagos in 1988.

Emmanuel was Director, Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement Systems (NIBBS), Non-Executive Director, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). He attended School of Arts and Science, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and obtained Advanced Certificate of Basic Studies (CBS) and Higher School Certificate (HSC).

He attended Secondary Commercial School, Ikot Akpan Ishiet, Onna LGA, Akwa Ibom State (SSCE). His political journey started in July 2013, when he was appointed Secretary to the State Government of Akwa Ibom State.

In 2014, he aspired for the governorship of Akwa Ibom State in a hotly contested primary election and defeated 22 other aspirants (G22) to emerge the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In 2015, he was elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State on the platform of the PDP. He was declared winner with 999, 071 votes after he defeated his closest rival, the APC governorship candidate, Umana Okon Umana, his predecessor as SSG, who scored 89, 865 votes.

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Emmanuel does not joke with his matches. One would imagine how he creates time to watch his matches despite his busy schedule as the number one citizen of Akwa Ibom…Even if Arsenal’s performance is poor, you dare not criticise the club before him. However, there are few things that Emmanuel can sacrifice Arsenal matches for, and they are: God, family and the progress of Akwa Ibom State